Words By: Laurent Shervington
Multinational Husband/Wife duo Ummagma (Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLarnon) have finally released their latest EP ‘Frequency’, a release that revels in it’s incredible production and familiar dream pop roots, making it an essential listen for fans of the genre in 2015.
Opening with ‘Orion’, Ummagma start out fragile and vulnerable, an arpeggiated synthesizer complements McLarnon’s voice perfectly, with a solid string section giving it considerable emotional weight. From the offset you can gauge that Ummagma aren’t messing around with this offering, with a level of production that I’m sure even Kevin Shields himself wouldn’t cough at.
Following on from here is ‘Lama’, a rising track with a multitude of swells and drive, which where Ummagma really show their potential. The song snowballs through its 5 minute length, gaining traction and layers until its final minute in which proceeds to reach its gorgeous shoegazy climax. The song establishes itself as the EP’s centerpiece, holding the rest of the songs together thematically and drawing from them just as easily. The end third of the EP featuring ‘Winter Tale’ and ‘Galacticon’ hold the EP together well, providing some beautiful ambient soundscapes and ethereal vocals which harks back to an early dream pop era, a la Cocteau Twins.
Speaking of Cocteau Twins, the first bonus remix of ‘Lama’ at the end of Frequency is done by none other than the legendary Robin Guthrie himself, who adds filters and layers to the production, elevating McLarnon’s voice to a resounding peak, making it somewhat of a sonic equivalent to being pushed downwards by an avalanche or being amicably beaten up by a gang of particularly soft clouds.
The other two remixes are by Malcom Holmes’ (OMD) who presents a more dancey, drum driven track and Lights That Change, who crank up the reverb and add some more pronounced guitar flourishes to the track.
Overall Frequency stands as an EP that marks great potential in Ummagma’s future, with a collection of tracks with a level of production and songwriting that sets them apart from the myriad of dream pop/shoegaze influenced artists at the moment.